Seeing Ourselves as Others See Us

16 October, 2007

None of us likes taking criticism, but when it comes to delivering presentations, the only way we can improve is by inviting feedback from others. 

To give you an example, last week I took part in a seminar with three other speakers, and after the event we gave each other feedback on our respective talks. To summarise: 

Speaker 1 spent most of his time looking at the laptop in front of him rather than at the audience

Speaker 2 (me!) was “on red-hot coals”, moving about a lot

Speaker 3 stood with his back to the audience reading off the big screen

Speaker 4 stood side-on to the audience and rambled a lot 

The interesting thing was that not one of us was aware of what we were doing! I know I tend to move about a bit during presentations but wasn’t aware of quite how much I do it. 

So whilst all of us had our pride wounded a little by criticism (albeit constructive), we know what we have to improve next time we present. So next time you’re delivering a presentation, either ask colleagues for feedback, or if you’re really too sensitive to handle it, set up a video camera and identify your faults yourself!

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